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A Jumbled up June


June has been a hard month for us in the gardens. A good deal of time has been spent watering, which has resulted in time lost on regular maintenance work. We now have a few weedy beds to contend with, but on the plus side everything is still alive and growing well. The heavy rain we experienced a few nights ago was a massive relief, as is the arrival of two new horticulture students, who will provide some much needed additional help.

We have just started installing sculptures into this year’s trail, which will run through the Seven Sisters and Lower Rock Close areas. There are a good number of pieces already in place of various styles. Something for everyone I would say. The sculpture trail gets bigger every year and I look forward to working with the artists to position their pieces. We have also just completed our own sculptural installation with the renovation of our old gas tank, which is in our new Jungle area. It is designed as a small seating area, with views over the lower arboretum.

We have started planting out some of our Vietnamese wild collected trees and shrubs in the last few days. It brings back memories of seed collecting on a very wet and exposed mountain ridges miles away from civilisation. It is very satisfying to see the fruits of our labour. We are also distributing some of the rarer collections to other gardens around Ireland. This ex-situ conservation is increasingly important due to habitat loss in their native range.

Jobs for July will include pinching out tomatoes and cucumbers side shoots, thinning growth on our grape vines and also thinning the fruit to improve the overall crop. Ongoing watering and feeding is very important. We feed every second week with phostrogen for the ornamentals and seaweed for the vegetables. In this dry weather you should make sure the plant has been watered prior to feeding it so that it does not take up too much too quick. Hedge clipping will be a big job here over the next few weeks. It’s always nice to get the fluff back off and tidy things up a bit. We will also be summer pruning in the orchard later this month.

Now is a good time for taking cuttings in the garden. Many shrubs will root readily and it’s a good way of increasing your plants without the expense. I always encourage plant swapping and if you have a few spares then it gives you something to bargain with. We will be taking cuttings from a lot of our rarer trees and shrubs over the summer and autumn. Not only will it give us material for swapping with other gardens, but it will also act as a back-up stock should one of the mother plants die.

Blarney in Bloom is on Sunday 9th July from 10am – 5pm and promises to be a great event. There’s a huge amount going on around the estate including specialist plant nurseries, garden equipment and a farmers market, garden talks, arts and crafts and a fun dog show. It will be a great value family day out and of course all will benefit a very worthy charity, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Entry to the event also includes access to the gardens.

I look forward to seeing you in the gardens. Adam

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